Days Of A Shopkeeper: It’s 2014!


Sailing near Naoshima, Japan

As you may know by now, we work better when some deadline is up. It’s almost 2014. Hmm!

We had wanted to do a post on the philosophy of Small And Able, if it is not too schmucky for a small shop to have one. And then we were always doing one thing or another, and sometimes we thought maybe we won’t do this post. And then we decided we might as well, since we might feel misunderstood otherwise.

We also wanted to announce new hours for the shop come 2014.

New hours. We shall in 2014 be open from Wednesday to Saturday, from 1 to 7 pm of each of those days.

This ties in what we want this place to be – a happy space, a space to enjoy. It is a quiet mall, and we find that those who mean to visit will make the effort to come when we are open. We hope you understand that we need some energy too to rest, to do other things, to dream.

One more shot from Naoshima!

One more shot from Naoshima!

Okay, we have some other thoughts and I don’t know how to organize them. So here you go.

We are part of the local community and try to support it. Try in that we may not have space at the time to stock more stuff. We contact local makers / designers / illustrators to have their stuff displayed for sale in our shop. Sometimes they contact us. We hope we are doing some good for the local arts scene!

Some drawing and daydreaming gets done in the shop, so we hope you forgive us if we look a little distracted.

The shop is just us stocking things we like. It’s just that.

We aren’t very good yet at making stocking decisions, and sometimes get a headache because a minimum order amount is required. But we hope you like what we bring out for display! We don’t encourage materialism [and the shopkeeper has been known to stop friends from buying things (“How many pencils do you need!” “No you don’t need another brooch.”) but would not really be able to help people she doesn’t really know.] You may think this conflicts with the shop’s existence but we’d like to think there’s a middle ground. We of course indulge in small doses of consumerism from time to time, and hope our wares would find favour with you too. Ha.

We are shy people and by now have run out of polite responses to questions like whether we can give a discount or is this our best price. We stock things that are shipped from overseas and despite that (plus paying GST) do not mark up more, if at all, than the recommended retail converted into SGD. That makes the margin substantially lower than what a department store gets. Amazingly, no one bargains at a department store! The shopkeeper knows it but she does not want to mark up more. But of course, we get in a good mood sometimes, and give a discount. Don’t get upset with us if it is kinda small a discount, ok?

Why are we saying all this?

For one, we have heard enough to know that many assume the shop is doing well financially. Nope. And it is an outcome we were ready for, and no, we don’t intend to build a business premised on sympathy. We are just kinda worried that people get unduly hopeful or encouraged. Please know that property prices are at a historical high. Do your sums beforehand and be ready.

We have also heard enough to know that some think or assume that our goal is to make shitloads of money. We wish too. But not really. Actually what we want is to have our little shop, make some money to survive because what we really want is the freedom to live this life. If money were the object, we’d all be better off as employees. We are glad to have found and heard of some like-minded people on this path, and all the best, guys.

If you read this very long post in full, thank you very much for sticking with us. Thank you.

Reading: Encounters Magazine Issue No. 3

Encounters No. 3

We really, really adore this issue of Encounters.

Well done, Shin. We love the interviews with the hawkers, and Denise’s write-up on her memories of the wet market. We were transported (to Tokyo, to Vietnam, to Jerusalem) and your Short Conversations At Night were really awesome. We don’t know many of the songs on the Private Playlists pages, but that’s the point of publishing them I think.

Encounters No. 3

Encounters No. 3

Merry, merry, 2013.


We live in an old estate, and it is full of half-opened doors, cracks, windows that cannot be closed properly. Sound leaks and travels and warps. Across the yard, from below, through the concrete.

But during the festive season, the sounds are uniformly indicative of one fact – celebration. Glasses clinking, people laughing, makeshift chairs being set up, furniture being dragged around to suit the day’s purpose… And even the wind cooperates, sending breezes from time to time.

It is a happy setting, and we hope you too are enjoying yourself this festive season. Whether it is a quiet one, or filled with boisterous gatherings, Merry Christmas.